Everyone’s favourite friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man returns, but is this outing worth experiencing for yourself? Find out in this spoiler free review of Spider-Man: Far From Home.
Two years have passed since Spider-Man swung onto the big screen in his solo debut for the now legendary Marvel Cinematic Universe. In that time, the spandex-clad web head has withstood myriad trials, tragedies, and tribulations.
Now, the time has come once again for Spider-Man to strike out on his own and take the fight to the evildoers who mean him great harm. The prior film was a fantastically fresh take on the character, but is Far From Home the natural progression?
At first glance, all seems lost with unmemorable musical accompaniments, two narrative halves of unequal quality, and a lack of visual style compared to previous outings starring the webbed-wonder.
Conversely, comic book accurate characterisations and relationships working cooperatively with outstanding audio design demonstrate, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that Spider-Man is a one-of-a-kind hero undeterred by minor flaws.
So, read on true believers as we zip towards the latest Spidey adventure with gleeful abandon. Excelsior!
A Tale of Two Halves
Spider-Man’s thrilling tales of adventure are full of high stakes action and drama, though 2017’s absolutely divine Spider-Man: Homecoming brought the thrills on a smaller scale.
However, the MCU Spider-Man has since proven himself to be a certifiable box office titan once more. Therefore, it is somewhat disappointing to see the stakes upped so late in this chapter of the scarlet arachnid’s life.
Far From Home’s initial, and inferior, portion wastes no time in wading through the necessary busywork of establishing how character relationships have evolved since the events of Avengers Endgame with plenty of comedy mixed in to cleanse the palette.
This gradual escalation results in a euphoric explosion of superhero action on par with the best Spidey stories. Although the MCU third act curse remains, witnessing the culmination of all that leads up to this moment is nothing short of pure, cinematic bliss.
Overall, the film’s two halves fall into two categories: build-up and execution. Although the build-up may take longer than is desired by the majority, the careful pace and loving treatment of the execution succeeds in ensuring only the positives linger in the mind.
A Hero for Every Villain
The 7th, solo, big screen appearance of the abundantly quippy wall-crawler lacks not an equally abundant array of endearing characters.
First and foremost, Peter Parker’s full maturity into a fully-fledged superhero is satisfying to witness and adds an additional layer of depth to his character. However, the slow burn of this development frustrates as most fans were ready for this in the summer of ’17.
Consequently, the most engaging protagonist is the decidedly less red-headed MJ who shines as a young woman learning to be more open. This arc is perfectly paced and contains echoes of the unshakeable relationship between the Peter and MJ of the comics.
Of course, behind every hero is a great villain rubbing their hands and plotting in secret. The menacing Mysterio enthrals by carrying out his comic book accurate motivations with unyielding malice and an enviable charisma.
Also, the chemistry between Jake Gyllenhaal and Tom Holland, who play Mysterio and Spider-Man respectively, is electric as the two actors play off each other’s emotions and reactions expertly.
The (Not-So-Sweet) Sound of Music
Thus far, the narrative elements of the film have failed to disappoint. That being said, the technical aspects throw a flurry of strikes that miss as often as they hit.
Let us begin with a glorious ray of positivity by analysing the sound design. Although the action looks stunning, and fully realised, the superior sound design adds that much needed layer of tangibility and believability to maintain audience investment.
Unfortunately, sound design fails to leave as lingering an impression as motion picture music. Alas, the generic action tones of Far From Home more closely resemble a night of intoxication: euphoric in the moment, but long abandoned in the memory by the morning.
A Conflict of Interests
Awe-inspiring visual spectacles are the life-blood of the MCU as it faithfully adapts the comic panels to the silver screen, yet Spider-Man: Far From Home appears divided on this matter.
On the one hand, a tremendous amount of care and attention to detail has gone into the immaculately constructed micro and macro visual effects. Combining this with the lovingly crafted costume design produces a perfect blend of MCU realism and comic book fantasy.
On the other hand, the stylised actor blocking and cinematography of Raimi’s trilogy transcended the static panels of the source material, while the conventional cinematography of Far From Home directs the focus solely on the less holistic action inside the frame.
Consensus and Final Verdict
As a bookend to the momentous third phase of the MCU, Spider-Man: Far From Home is nothing spectacular. However, as a tale based on everyone’s favourite, web-headed, comic book vigilante, it is simply amazing.
However, just how urgent should you make your initial viewing of this fantastically fun film? Immediate, in disc form, when it eventually swings onto Television sets, or never?
Viewing Urgency: Immediate
Yes, the first half drags a little. Yes, the visual offerings are far from resplendent. Yes, if asked to hum the soundtrack, I would scarcely know where to begin.
In contrast, having this film pay tribute to the comics more through faithful character motivations, relationships, and arcs adds a tinge of originality in a saturated market.
While I fondly reflect on my childhood memories of Raimi’s admittedly flawed trilogy, I hope, with the greatest sincerity, that today’s children will do the same with Jon Watts’ endeavours.
So, zip, crawl, or swing to your local multiplex and ensure that you catch this film while it remains available to the masses in that format. Then, like yours truly, do it all over again.
Have you seen, are yet to see, or are currently in line to see Spider-Man: Far From Home? Let us get chatting on the Twittisphere @WillDoubleJ.
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